Stocks in the Asian region were seen opening higher on Wednesday after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen hinted that the bank’s first rate hike is unlikely before mid-year.
The Japanese benchmark Nikkei 225 Index added 0.12% to 18,626.03 points, while Tokyo’s Topix Index edged 0.09% to 1,509.68 points. The Japanese yen rose 0.3% to 118.67 per dollar on Wednesday.
The firmer yen dragged exporters lower, with Mitsubishi Motors declining 0.9%, Toshiba eased 0.6% and Pioneer was down 2%.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index climbed 0.06% to 24,764.80 points, while the Chinese benchmark Shanghai Composite was up 0.12% to 3,250.82 points.
A preliminary gauge from HSBC Holdings and Markit Economics showed that China’s Flash Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) rose to 50.1 in February, compared to 49.7 seen in the previous month. A figure below 50 signals contraction, while a reading above 50 indicates expansion.
The South Korean Kospi Index advanced 0.66% to 1,989.16 points, while the Australian S&P/ASX 200 Index rose 5,934.60 points.
European stocks started Wednesday’s session mostly higher after the Eurogroup approved the reforms proposal from Greece and Federal Reserve Chair Yellen’s testimony to congress.
The European Euro Stoxx 50 Index fell 0.08% to 3,544.12, while the German DAX 30 climbed 0.02% to 11,206.89 at the time of writing. At the same time, the French CAC 40 Index gained 0.03% to open at 4,888.09 and the UK’s FTSE 100 edged 0.11% lower to 6,942.11.
On Tuesday, EU finance ministers approved Greece’s bailout program for four months after the nation delivered a list of reforms to the Eurogoup and said it would undertake measures to fix its financial crises.